The Open UniversitySkip to content

The language(s) of love in Aristophanes

Robson, James (2013). The language(s) of love in Aristophanes. In: Sanders, Ed.; Thumiger, Chiara; Carey, Christopher and Lowe, Nick eds. Eros in Ancient Greece. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 251–266.

Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This chapter explores the different ways in which Aristophanes’ comedies employ erotic vocabulary – ‘the language(s) of love’ – the thesis being that each play has its own, distinct erotic landscape. The chapter begins with an overview of erotic vocabulary in Aristophanes and the uses to which three key words in particular are put: erōs, pothos and philia. Studies of three comedies follow in which the thematic importance of erotic vocabulary is examined. In Acharnians, erōs and pothos are shown to be linked to peace, food, sex and the countryside, while philia plays a crucial role in defining the shifting network of allegiances between characters. In Lysistrata, philia is an all-important gendered concept, intimately linked to the female sphere and the struggle for peace. In Wasps, Philocleon’s strong passions, such as his erōs for the law-courts, are ultimately shown to be less enduring than his son’s philia for his father and city.

Item Type: Book Section
Copyright Holders: 2013 Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0-19-960550-5, 978-0-19-960550-7
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > Classical Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 32588
Depositing User: James Robson
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2012 14:29
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 08:39
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU